Windows-Help.NET Newsletter 16 Nov. 2002, Vol 5 No. 46

In this issue:

w   No Security for your old Operating System
w   Featured Software: Tweaking Toolbox XP
w   Recent Support BBS Postings
w   Web Site Updates
w   Administrivia

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No Security for your old Operating System

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Earlier this week, Microsoft's Craig Mundie, Senior Vice President and chief technology officer, spoke on Microsoft's monthly "Speaker Series" about Microsoft's Advanced Strategies and Policy.

You can read the whole speech on the Microsoft Web site. It's mainly about Microsoft's "Trustworthy Computing" initiative.

The interesting part I wanted to share with you is near the bottom of this article. I'll just quote some passages:

"So we know that in practice it's impossible for us to remediate the threats that we know exist in the world today in systems that were designed in 1991, '2 and '3 and deployed in '95 and which are actively still in use today."

"We have decided that we will begrudgingly forsake certain app compatibility things when, in fact, they don't allow us to have a default configuration that opts for more security. In the past, the biggest thing that happened to us was IT managers would come to the company and say, hey, all those new features, they're great, all that new security stuff, that's great, but whatever you do don't break my app. So just turn it all off and trust me, we'll fix the apps and then we'll turn it all on. And the reality is that never happened."

"And so we're going to tell people that even if it means we're going to break some of your apps we're going to make these things more secure and you're just going to have to go back and pay the price."

OK, so what's he saying here? One key phrase is: "We have decided that we will begrudgingly forsake certain app compatibility things when, in fact, they don't allow us to have a default configuration that opts for more security."

Microsoft is making the first move, as it was recently reported that Microsoft Office 11 would not be made available on the Windows 9x, Me and NT 4.0 platforms, citing lack of security.

UK based The Register, known for it's unbiased (sic!) reporting on Microsoft, is alleging Mundie's speech suggests we should all start buying Windows XP.

I'm not reading the article that way, but what I am reading is just the simple fact that Windows 9x (I mean Windows 95/98/Me) will never be as secure as Windows 2000 / XP are today.

The largest security problem facing us today is with systems connected to the Internet. We have seen a number of Viruses and Worms inflict massive damage to systems & networks in the past. I'm sure you all remember the Melissa, Badtrans or the more recent Klez.H worms/viruses. These were able to spread so rapidly, for the most part, because of unprotected systems accessing the Internet (Yes, uneducated users also played a part, as well as several other factors).

There is a lot that Windows 9x users can do today to protect themselves, but the problem is that the user has to do it, and like it or not, the majority of users accessing the Internet today don't even have a clue about the need to install the latest updates for their OS. So we can forget about getting them to install a firewall or anti-virus software.

For the home user, all security needed has to be built in and enabled by default, something that's just going to require the latest OS. Just a few years ago, hardly anybody gave any thought to putting a firewall on his home PC, let alone build it in the OS. Any new version of anything had to have the latest and greatest features, which led to the sad and insecure software we've seen come out (Outlook, Outlook Express & Office all have/had their share of security flaws).

Do I think Microsoft needs to do a better job? Yes I do! But I'm willing to cut them some slack, and I will not complain when they "declare" Windows 9x "not fit". There's only so much you can do with patches & upgrades... it's time to move forward on new technology. The old systems will continue to work, but some things will just no longer be available for them.

Rose City Software

The utility for any serious Windows tweaker!

The utility for any serious Windows tweaker! With Tweaking Toolbox XP you'll change hundreds of registry settings from Windows XP, improving appearance and performance. Prevent others from changing your settings, increase Windows security. Administer all (Windows) user accounts on your computer from your Administrator account! Lock down Control Panel applets, Internet Explorer options, even choose which applications can or can't be run on the computer!

More Info - Trial Version [805 KB - Win XP only]

Recent Support BBS Postings

Messenger Spam....HELP! - Windows XP
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Web Site Updates

These pages were added/updated in the past 2 weeks. Information on previously updated/added pages is available on the What's New? page for 1 month.

Added: In Search of the Perfect Email Program


Added: Microsoft: No Security for your old Operating System
Added: Microsoft Releases Office 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Added: Microsoft to move into corporate IM
Added: Microsoft Releases DirectX 9.0 Public Beta for End-User


In Search of the Perfect Email Program

Rose City Software acquires the license to update and distribute a new and improved version of what many consider to be the perfect email client.

Read Full Article
Microsoft Releases Office 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3)

Office 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) provides the latest updates to Microsoft Office 2000 and contains significant security enhancements as well as stability and performance improvements.

Read Full Article
Microsoft Releases DirectX 9.0 Public Beta for End-User

Latest DirectX Beta released for Public. DirectX 9.0 includes security and performance updates, along with many new features across all technologies, which can be accessed by applications using the DirectX 9.0 APIs.

Read Full Article
Microsoft to move into corporate IM

Microsoft this week announced plans for the availability of its new MSN® Messenger Connect for Enterprises service. MSN Messenger Connect offers an enterprise a manageable way of doing business with its expanding external customer base utilizing instant messaging by logging and auditing conversations to a Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 database and providing administrative control of instant messaging namespaces for contact names within their organizations.

Read Full Article
Steve Ballmer on Microsoft's Commitment to Customers and the Industry

In the 3rd installment of "Microsoft Executive E-mail", Steve Ballmer, Micrsoft CEO, shares some thoughts about Microsoft's changing role in the technology industry now that the antitrust settlement has been approved.

Read Full Article
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